G_girls.Gracie

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by Susi Jirkuff

grade: 7.5

G_girls.Gracie is a real pleasure for the eyes. The magnetic animations immediately make us feel part of the protagonist’s life, becoming, in our own way, her confidantes. And, last but not least, the city is also treated as a real character. A city whose severe, angular shapes and dark colours contrast with Gracie’s vulnerability.

Rainy afternoon

Cityscapes, isolated suburbs and – from time to time – raindrops sliding down closed window panes. Growing up in a big city is not always so easy. And so, in just a few minutes, two different stories in two totally different worlds are told through images by animator and video artist Susi Jirkuff, who, in order to tell the story of two small realities in two different areas, made two short films in 2015, G_girls.Gracie and G_girls.Ginny. These works, which complement the Diagonale 2020 retrospective Sehnsucht 2020 – Eine kleine Stadterzählung, have been included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished, following the cancellation of the festival.

Gracie is a teenager who still has to find her way and learn to accept herself. The girl is passionate about fashion and would like, one day, to start her own blog. On a rainy autumn afternoon, the girl talks to her friend Ginny on the phone, telling her about her friend Lee’s latest vicissitudes and daydreaming about the future.

We are never given to see the face of the protagonist in G_girls.Gracie. The only thing we can do is listen to her voice as she talks on the phone. And yet, in the meantime, our eyes are nevertheless fascinated by magnetic images: the rotoscoped animations, created by drawing real oil paintings on previously shot footage, show us now images of semi-deserted streets and small buildings (when the camera looks out of the window), now the interior of the house in which Gracie lives. Here we see details such as kettles on the cooker, laundry hung out to dry and shopping bags waiting to be emptied.

The extremely intimate dimension in which G_girls.Gracie develops conveys a pleasant feeling of calm and serenity, even though the protagonist’s conversations reveal quite a few inner turmoil, as is normal in a delicate and transitional period such as adolescence.

Susi Jirkuff, for her part, shows enormous affection for the small world staged here. And, while being very close to that small reality, she also shows a necessary detachment and a certain rationality in staging it all, in showing it us so tenderly naïve and so extraordinarily exceptional in its total normality.

G_girls.Gracie is a real pleasure for the eyes. The magnetic animations immediately make us feel part of the protagonist’s life, becoming, in our own way, her confidantes. And, last but not least, the city is treated as a real character. A city, this one, whose severe, angular shapes and dark colours contrast with Gracie’s vulnerability. A city within which it is not always easy to live. But, at the same time, a city that witnesses a new young life about to take flight, never tired of its dreams and hopes for a future full of happiness.

Original title: G_girls.Gracie
Directed by: Susi Jirkuff
Country/year: Austria, UK / 2015
Running time: 6’
Genre: animation, coming-of-age
Cast: Lili Pick
Screenplay: Susi Jirkuff
Cinematography: Susi Jirkuff
Produced by: Susi Jirkuff

Info: the page of G_girls.Gracie on sixpackfilm.com